Uma Krishnaswami has written numerous books about her former homeland, India. One fine example is Monsoon by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Jamel Akib (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2003). This bookreminds me of my many months in India. Not only does it provide glimpses of Indian life-cows in the streets and the open market stalls-it includes valuable information regarding India’s climate and the importance of yearly monsoons. All are viewed through the eyes of a child who makes honest observations. The back page provides facts regarding monsoons. Uma’s passion for writing about India is conveyed in this magnificently illustrated book.
Higgins viewpoint that an “insider” is the best author for a multicultural story is reinforced in Uma’s work. After reading more about Uma, I quickly learned that she shares some of Higgins beliefs. See http://www.umakrishnaswami.com/common-errors for her insight on this topic.
Do you agree with Uma?
- Life in India
- Climate changes
Another picture book by Uma worth exploring is Cachaji’s Cup, illustrated by Soumya Sitaraman (Children’s Book Press, 2003) This story is set in the States. Uma poignantly highlights the relationship between the main character Neel and his great uncle, Chachaji. Through dialogue, narrative, and a short explanation at the end of the book, the reader learns a bit about India’s 1947 Partition. The resiliency of a fragile cup is symbolically linked with Neel’s grandmother’s journey during the Partition and his great uncle’s aging.
- Indian history- 1947 Partition
- Character growth- how events can change someone’s perspective
- One of the Best Children’s Books of the Year (2003), Bank Street College of Education
- 2004 Skipping Stones Award (Multicultural and International Books category)
- 2004 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People